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Ukraine crisis highlights UK’s need for cheaper and faster air-defense systems production


Providing Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine has highlighted the need for a new air defence system in the UK that is cheaper and faster to produce, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) recent announcement that it intends to improve its Land Ground Based Air Defence (Land GBAD) programme, set to be delivered in ten years, will offer the country a much-needed capability boost.


Madeline Wild, Aerospace, Defense & Security Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Starstreak missiles offer a number of strategical advantages, but they are expensive, difficult to use, and require weeks of training to operate effectively. This isn’t ideal in times of crisis, as we have seen in Ukraine, as the production of these weapons must be faster and cheaper so that reserves can be replenished quickly. The Land GBAD program referenced by the MoD will be a welcome next step to enable the UK to adequately respond to threats and ensure that the country is not left with gaps in its capability.”


Expected to be delivered by 2032, the Land GBAD programme will improve the UK’s capacity to defend against conventional unmanned arial vehicles (UAVs), quadrocopter UAVs, and hypersonic missiles, for which there is a growing prevalence. According to GlobalData, the global military UAV market, currently valued at $7.6 billion in 2022, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.47% to reach $11.7 billion by 2032.


Wild continues: “The development of novel aerial weapons, and the proliferation of UAV technology, have been cited by the British Army in 2021 as creating the highest level of air and missile threats for three decades. Unlike Starstreak SHORAD and Sky Sabre M-RAD systems, this programme will encompass all aspects of air defense. These platforms will be integrated under the Land GBAD programme to provide a programme suitable for use by the Joint Force at home or abroad.


“In the meantime other platforms will be delivered to fill the gap until the Land GBAD is delivered. For example, the Sky Sabre M-RAD has just become operational, and a new SHORAD system is due to be delivered next year.”


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